Buy to let property investment - Tackling rogue landlords

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has warned of an increase in rogue landlords.
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Oxford, United Kingdom ( January 4, 2013 - Oxford, Oxford ( prhwy ) January 3, 2013 - The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has warned of an increase in rogue landlords.

There is a high number of unscrupulous lettings agents who are cashing in on the rental boom, and are not following industry guidelines and setting low standards.

David Humphreys is a buy to let property investment expert and promotes good practice in property investment. He offers consultancy, mentoring and advice to buy to let property investors whether they are novice or professional investors looking for financial freedom through tried and tested buy to let strategies. He says:

"Unfortunately in any industry rogue elements will exist and there is little that even mandatory licensing can/will do to eliminate the rogue elements unless of course the offences were made criminal with a mandatory jail sentence

Even in the professions, doctors, solicitors, health visitors to mention three, rogue elements exist with the cases being highlighted by the press and whilst the people who come into contact with these rogue elements suffer, sometimes considerably, seldom are the rogues jailed, there is always mitigation!

"There is a huge difference between landlords & letting agents. Whilst some sort of mandatory code could be introduced for letting agents, which would possibly reduce but not eliminate the rogue element, it would be totally impractical to introduce some form of mandatory licensing or code for landlords.

"A letting agent is visible, most have commercial premises though some now work from home, all have contact details, telephone, e-mail, website maybe press advertising.

"A landlord can be virtually invisible. A homeowner letting a room in their home is technically speaking a landlord to that tenant. It could be argued that 'rent a room' should be excluded but how would you treat the landlord letting the top floor, two rooms kitchen and bathroom, of their home or the landlord letting their home whilst away on holiday or short term assignment. Are these people to need licensing before letting? Safety issues are already covered by current legislation such as furniture fire safety & gas safety, both of which if ignored carry severe penalties.

"Legislation already exists to prosecute and close down rogue letting agents where members of the public suffer provided those people report the matter to Trading Standards.

"By the same token legislation also exists to control the standards of letting property regarded as "high risk" and I'm referring to HMOs (houses in multiple occupation). With certain HMOs not only does the property have to be licensed but also the landlord, if they are managing the property, has to prove that they are a fit person to do so. Landlords not properly licensed face severe financial penalties.

"Whilst I would support the introduction of a mandatory code of conduct for letting agents, unfortunately I doubt that a mandatory code of conduct would even reduce that alone eliminate the rogue elements.

"I also agree that often the charges made by letting agents for "administration" seem to be substantially higher than the base cost but high administrative costs are not restricted to letting agents. Banks for example seem able to charge extremely high administrative costs in an industry that is regulated.

"Legislation already exists to combat both rogue landlords & rogue letting agents. Rather than introduce new legislation, codes of conduct or mandatory licensing, publicising the current legislation could be immediately effective particularly if the aim was to bring current legislation to the attention of the more vulnerable tenants in a clear and easy to understand format."

Notes to Editors

David Humphreys aims to make buy to let safer for investors by promoting good practice and quality housing. I offer consultancy services, investment strategies and advice on financial freedom, investment education, armchair acquisition and one-to-one mentoring. His website provides links to being a good landlord, letting quality properties, using reputable suppliers and also attempts to teach what, in my opinion, is good practice. He is also author of 'Investing in Residential Property'. To hear David Humphrey's audio about buy to let property investment, click here. Click here to find out more about David Humphreys.


Tag Words: property investment
Categories: Business

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